There isn't a whole lot that's new for the Nissan Rogue Sport for the 2019 model year (a light refresh is coming for 2020). But Nissan's two-pronged Rogue strategy (the automaker bundles both the subcompact Rogue Sport and compact Rogue into the same sales figure each month) continues to be popular with consumers. In fact, the dual-headed Rogue ranks as the fourth-best-selling nameplate in America so far in 2019, sitting behind nothing but the Big Three's full-size pickup trucks.
Three trim levels are available — S, SV, and SL. All Rogue Sports are powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque to either the front or optionally all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: At first glance, this is a vehicle that looks like it will make a lot of sense to a lot of prospective buyers. On paper, the headline-grabbing stat is its low starting price of $23,385 once destination is factored in. It looks pretty good, has optional all-wheel drive, gets good fuel economy for a crossover, and all kinds of safety equipment and technology is optional. Sounds compelling.
The problem is, the value proposition gets wiped out pretty quickly as options are piled on. My particular test vehicle was a Rogue Sport in SL trim loaded up with 19-inch wheels, a leather interior with heated front seats and a power adjustable driver's seat, an excellent 360-degree overhead camera, a moonroof, and Nissan's ProPilot Assist package, which, under the right circumstances, can take over steering duties (though the driver does need to keep their hands on the wheel). Coupled with adaptive cruise control, Nissan's kinda-sorta semi-autonomous tech is a pretty cool package.
All of those options added up to a sticker price of $33,020. That's pretty close to the average price of all new cars sold in America last year, and while I wouldn't knock anyone who chose a loaded-up Rogue Sport instead of a larger but less-well-equipped option, I think some people will be surprised by how tight the rear-seat accommodations are, and how little cargo space there is inside. I used the Rogue Sport for a quick little getaway, and was just able to fit in a couple of suitcases, a backpack full of camera gear, and a weekend's worth of food.
The Sport bit of the name doesn't apply to the way it drives. Driving dynamics err on the side of comfort over performance; the steering is predictably light and generally devoid of feel, and acceleration is leisurely.
For people who plan to use the Rogue Sport as more of a commuter and not really as a family car, it is indeed a compelling option. But prospective buyers should compare the subcompact Rogue Sport with the larger standard Rogue (and other competing compact crossovers) to see which size properly suits their needs, and if the larger option is a better fit, be mindful of what optional extras are really necessary.
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: This vehicle neither excites nor offends me. It does a pretty damn good job of getting out of its own way and getting you where you need to be without much drama. It's somewhat fetching from most angles, the front being the exception. I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in the rear seat, but it's roomier than a lot of the competition, and both front seats are cozy. The infotainment system is easy to use, but didn't stand out as anything special. It's not quick, but it's appropriately and satisfyingly responsive.
That said, when I could be bothered to put some of my concentration into doing a scan of the senses, I got a sense of quality in the Rogue Sport that others in the segment lack. It's fairly quiet, feels solid going down the road, and materials are nice to both sight and touch. The important convenience features are all there, and this example was equipped with the technology package, which includes ProPilot Assist. Having full-speed adaptive cruise control definitely made my life easier when I got stuck in traffic on my way home.
"Inviting" ... that's how I'd characterize the @Nissan Rogue Sport's cockpit. @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/ITvoWKsxfQ — John Snyder (@jbeltzsnyder) February 25, 2019
Manager, Production, Eddie Sabatini: The Rogue Sport packs in all the modern safety features and tech that consumers have come to expect from new vehicles. I'm not a huge fan of Nissan's ProPilot — I find acceleration and deceleration too abrupt — but it is a nice creature comfort to have for long drives on expressways, which is where it's at its best.
I'm not sold on the looks. I find the design bulbous, especially for a vehicle with such a small footprint, but it's not hideous and it's more comfortable and a better drive than most vehicles in this segment. For example, I'd pick the Rogue Sport over the Toyota and Jeep offerings in the segment.